Bollywood director is single dad via surrogacy

NEW DELHI • Bollywood director Karan Johar announced yesterday that he had become a father to twins through surrogacy as India moves closer to controversially barring single people from becoming parents.

The 44-year-old film-maker, who is single, said he was ecstatic to become a parent, but did not disclose the identity of the surrogate who gave birth to his children - a boy and a girl. "This was an emotional yet well-thought-out decision which I have taken after considering all the responsibilities and duties that come with being a parent," he wrote on Twitter.

Johar, one of Bollywood's most successful film producers, said his children were his "world and priority" and he was ready to raise them.

His newborn son was christened after his late father, Yash Johar, a celebrated Bollywood film-maker. His daughter has been named Roohi.

In his autobiography An Unsuitable Boy, Johar had expressed a desire to adopt or pursue fatherhood through surrogacy.

EMBRACING PARENTHOOD

This was an emotional yet well-thought-out decision which I have taken after considering all the responsibilities and duties that come with being a parent.

FILM-MAKER KARAN JOHAR, on becoming a father to twins through surrogacy.

He is not the first Bollywood star to chart the course, with actor Tusshar Kapoor fathering a son last year to a surrogate. Surrogacy is a hot-button issue in India, where the "rent-a-womb" industry is worth between US$500 million (S$705 million) and US$2.3 billion annually, making it the top destination worldwide for the procedure.

India caused an outcry last year when it drafted a law making surrogacy available to only married Indian couples without children, barring single people and homosexuals from this option.

The Bill is pending before Parliament but if passed, will outlaw commercial surrogacy in India.

The Bill drew broad criticism from doctors and some political parties but supporters maintain that the commercialisation of "motherhood" sees surrogate mothers exploited.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 06, 2017, with the headline 'Bollywood director is single dad via surrogacy'. Print Edition | Subscribe